Two time box office champ Don’t Breathe is a huis-clos horror flick. The scenario finds three Detroit young adults robbing houses. There’s Money (Daniel Zovatto), the alpha male; his girlfriend Rocky (Jane Levy); and Alex (Dylan Minnette), the vaguely dweeby third wheel who is actually key to the operation, since his father runs the security company monitoring the houses of the people the trio robs. Rocky has a particularly trying home life—her mom is a deadbeat, her mom’s boyfriend is a neo-Nazi—and she wants to make off with a big enough score so that she can take her younger sister and put Detroit in the rearview mirror. Enter a blind Iraq War vet (Stephen Lang) whose daughter’s death by a drunk driver netted a six-figure windfall which he keeps in his house. The rest is robbery. As a mainstream horror movie Don’t Breathe does and does not pull punches. Compared to the tame Lights Out, Don’t Breathe is gruesome and kinky; yet, like Lights Out, Don’t Breathe is sentimental, emotionally relying on a sororal relationship that undermines its horrific qualities. What’s interesting is that, up to a point fairly late in the movie, the robbers, however attractive & charming, are less sympathetic than the grieving PTSD veteran whom they’re robbing; but then, with a wicked twist, that changes. Credit some dextrous camerawork and a clever visual reference to Alien. Directed by Fede Alvarez, co-produced by Sam Raimi.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White